Saturday, February 27, 2010

Mazel Grandpaw!

Ahh, the happy wedding day. They don't look too happy, do they? Taken in 1919.

Oy vey!

These are my Dad's parents. I really didn't know, or at least connect that he was Jewish until, well, my non-practicing Jewish best friend made a big deal out of it several years ago. For me, and our family, it was really a non-issue that Dad was a Jew, well, from a Jewish family.

I don't see any yarmulke in any of these photos, but my Dad's Dad, or my grandfather sure looks like my Dad, no mistaking that.

I don't even have a very Jewish sounding last name. Dad used to say his Dad changed his last name when he immigrated here to the U.S. in, well, whatever year he immigrated. In his later years, he said the family name wasn't changed. Oy vey! Taken about 1922. Somewhere on the east coast of the U.S.

You'd swear my Dad had little Hassidic curls, but he had to have come from Ashkenazi Jews, given his blue eyes and light hair. Well, My Grandmothers light hair.

In reality, the curls my Dad has in several photos of him as a young boy are the result of my Jewish Grandmothers old Victorian values, and those are Victorian curls many boys had as boys. I just discovered my Grandmother was 35 when he was born. I come from people who have babies late in life, which accounts of all the old photos. Taken 1923 (photo below)

Poor Dad, I bet he was teased for those Victorian curls as a kid. I also had no clue Dad went to Hebrew school or even was a Jew until I was about 14 ha ha. Seriously. He never talked about it. It was a non-issue. (below photo taken in Washington D.C. or New York about 1925-1926)

And while I keep talking about my Dad, it's really my Dad's Dad I want to point out.

My Grandfather left my Grandmother when Dad was about 9 years old. Thanks, Grandpa. You left my Dad with one of the most controlling Jewish Mothers ever found in New York. Lots more about her to come.

But maybe, after hearing the stories, I kind of understood why. Dad was an only child, by the way. I guess one trip around the bed was enough for ol' Grandpa lol... (below photo taken about 1925-1926, probably New York).

So I know virtually nothing about my Grandfather, except he bailed on the family back in about 1930. This photo of his shadow on the ground while taking Dads picture is rather poetic I suppose. Sad. Dad really never talked about his Dad either.


  1. I was smiling all through these pictures until you got to the "leaving" part. Oh, my, that must've been hard on your grandmother (and father!) in so many ways. How does a single, immigrant woman raise her son in the 1930's? Wow.

    Sounds like they both turned out OK, cheers to THEM! (Obviously, grandpa's loss!!) Thanks so much for sharing this!

  2. Okay, Sweetie, That last photo just sent chills through me! There are so many interpretations of that photo.

  3. Wow--so one of your ancestors left HIS wife in the lurch in the 30's, too--same as my grandpa did to my grandma and left her with TWO little kids. Women were tough birds back then, though. I know that back then immigrants weren't looked at too kindly by people (even though their families were originally immigrants, too!) and then being Jewish, too? That may be why the word "non-issue" popped up several times in your post. It was all about blending in back then, becoming one with the crowd. Extremely interesting post!!! Would it be ok for me to nab that first picture to use in a collage? It's so beautiful.

  4. Ooo Christine, if you do, you must show me the results~~ =D

    I'm not sure my Dad had much of an opinion either way about his Dad taking off. I have no clue where he went.

  5. awesome blog and awesomest posts...:)...I dont have such vintage pictures n the family...After seeing this post..i wish i did...

    the last picture conveys so many things and actually sent chills down my spine...seems to be so symbolic !...the shadow in particular...omg!

  6. Haunting/funny/cute and sad story and lovely photos. Thanks for sharing! I love stuff like this. xoxo Tam